Sparse Q-learning with Mirror Descent
Sridhar Mahadevan, Bo Liu
This paper explores a new framework for reinforcement learning based on online convex optimization, in particular mirror descent and related algorithms. Mirror descent can be viewed as an enhanced gradient method, particularly suited to minimization of convex functions in highdimensional spaces. Unlike traditional gradient methods, mirror descent undertakes gradient updates of weights in both the dual space and primal space, which are linked together using a Legendre transform. Mirror descent can be viewed as a proximal algorithm where the distance generating function used is a Bregman divergence. A new class of proximal-gradient based temporal-difference (TD) methods are presented based on different Bregman divergences, which are more powerful than regular TD learning. Examples of Bregman divergences that are studied include p-norm functions, and Mahalanobis distance based on the covariance of sample gradients. A new family of sparse mirror-descent reinforcement learning methods are proposed, which are able to find sparse fixed points of an l1-regularized Bellman equation at significantly less computational cost than previous methods based on second-order matrix methods. An experimental study of mirror-descent reinforcement learning is presented using discrete and continuous Markov decision processes.
PDF Link: /papers/12/p564-mahadevan.pdf
AUTHOR = "Sridhar Mahadevan
and Bo Liu",
TITLE = "Sparse Q-learning with Mirror Descent",
BOOKTITLE = "Proceedings of the Twenty-Eighth Conference Annual Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI-12)",
PUBLISHER = "AUAI Press",
ADDRESS = "Corvallis, Oregon",
YEAR = "2012",
PAGES = "564--573"